Jealousy was the name of the game on this week's Modern Family, in an episode full of fun plotlines with strong character motivations.
Phil wants business from worldly divorcé Tad (Greg Kinnear), whose constant lip-kissin' is getting to Claire. She wants Phil to get jealous about these lingering bisoux, but Phil shrugs them off as something Tad picked up in Costa Rica. "It's a progressive culture," he assures her. "Most of them travel by zipline."
When they arrive chez Tad, however, Claire realizes that the kissing isn't a come-on, since he does it to everyone else, including his dog. It's only once she relaxes and starts laughing at Tad's jokes that Phil's jealousy finally kicks in. "You can kiss my wife, you can take her to bed, but only I can make her laugh. I want to go back." The resulting Phil-Claire moment makes perfect sense for their relationship.
Mitchell and Cam are staying with Jay and Gloria, which means dueling homemakers Cam and Gloria are all up in each other's grillllz, and both are feeling territorial. Cam re-organizes Gloria's kitchen so it has more "flow," and Gloria buys Lily a tiny leopard coat. ("It's like she's the baby lo-pard, and I'm the mama.") HOW DARE THEY?
This conflict between the show's two most theatrical characters must inevitably come to a head in a choreographed dance-/cook-off. Since I would watch that for about 30 hours, it was bittersweet when Lily came in with a matching leopard print apron for Cam, and all was forgiven. But the harmonious tandem dance-cooking scene more than made up for it.
Meanwhile, Jay's never-ending lawyer jokes are pissing off Mitch enough to kick Jay out of an introduction to Bell Booker, a client whose prank radio show Jay used to love. Booker gives Mitch a talking-to that forces him to confront Jay about the jokes…and then prank him. Ya bell got RUNG, Jay.
And lastly, Haley's Little Sister is prompting some Dunphy kid jealousy for Alex. (By the way, Haley's Little Sister Annie got GYPPED out of screen time in this episode. All three of her lines were amazing.) It's Luke, though, who saves the day in the end by finally standing up to his crazy sisters. He's repayed by getting dressed up as his female alter ego Betty Luke. It was very refreshing to see Haley and Alex band together against their third sibling in a new dynamic for the Dunphy child trio.
In a series that can sometimes fall into repetitive storylines, the focus on jealousy here felt fresh. And MVP of the night might just be Manny, for trying to solve everyone else's conflicts with helpful allegories about his friend Danielle. As Mitch put it, "She sounds like a real piece of work." Poor Danielle. Maybe she, Annie, and Betty Luke can all hang out sometime.